High cholesterol levels can be a scary and dangerous thing, because it can lead to health problems like heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks. The worrying part is that high cholesterol levels are becoming more common every day.
If you find out that you have high cholesterol levels, don’t just rush to go get yourself some cholesterol medication, as these types of medication often have a long list of negative side effects. There are many things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels that don’t come with these side effects, and are usually a lot less expensive. Here are 13 ways that you can manage your cholesterol levels and stay healthy…
- Good Cholesterol vs. Bad Cholesterol
Your body needs a certain level of cholesterol to function as it should, but this refers to HDL (good cholesterol, and not LDL (Bad Cholesterol).
LDL is what causes plaque to form in the arteries which causes blockages and leads to heart issues.
On the other hand, HDL can actually have the opposite effect and can help clear bad cholesterol from your arteries.
- Palm-Sized Portions
Overeating and massive portion sizes can be devastating to not only your body weight, but also your cholesterol levels. While the ideal thing to do would be to weigh al your food with a kitchen scale when dishing up, it is not always possible. An easy way to get around this is by making using your hand.
- Your portion of protein (Meat, poultry, fish) should be able to fit in the palm of your hand.
- A portion of fruit, whole or cut, should be about as big as your clenched fist.
- The vegetables, pasta, or rice you eat should be able to fill your cupped hand.
- Eat Plenty Of Fruits and Veggies
Fresh fruit and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that can help you lower your LDL cholesterol levels. It can also help to lower high blood pressure levels, as well as help you to maintain a good body weight. Make sure that you eat between 5 and 9 portions of fresh fruits or vegetables per day in order to get the full benefit from their nutrients.
- Heart-Healthy Fatty Fish
If you look at any die that helps with your cholesterol levels, you will see that you should eat fish at least twice a week. This is because fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower triglycerides (an unhealthy fat in the blood) which then help to bring down unhealthy cholesterol levels. The best types of fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout as these contain the most omega-3 fatty acids. Just make sure to go for the grilled option, and not deep fried!
- Whole Grains In The Morning
Throw out your sugary cereal, and rather opt for a nice warm bowl of oatmeal or other whole-grain cereal. These are jam-packed with complex carbs and dietary fiber, which are not only a god way of helping your bowel movement in the morning, but also are also great for lowering bad cholesterol levels. You can also snack on whole grains throughout the day by including popcorn, wild rice, brown rice, and barley into your meals and snacks.
- Go Nuts
When you feel puckish during the day or just in the mood to nibble on something, stay away from sweets and crisps. Rather go for a handful of nuts like almonds, macadamias, or pecan nuts. These are filled with monounsaturated fats, which are good fats that can help lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Just be careful, as nuts are quite high in calories. Make sure that you don’t go over your daily calorie allowance with all your nut-snacking.
- Unsaturated Fats
Not all fats are bad; in fact, we need certain fats in our diet to stay healthy. It is recommended that about 30% of our daily calories should come from unsaturated fats that we can find in olive oil, canola oil, and safflower oil. These help lower LDL cholesterol levels, while at the same time increasing HDL cholesterol levels. But as with nuts, know your limits as these can easily cause your calorie count to soar.
- The Carbs Of Choice
Your body needs carbohydrates to use as fuel for energy. The key is choosing the right kind of carbs that do not cause nasty blood sugar spikes and sugar crashes. Good sources of complex carbs include beans, brown rice, whole wheat, and quinoa. These are also high in dietary fiber, which means that they can keep you feeling full for longer.
Steer clear of refined carbs like white rice, white bread, pastries, and potatoes. These can cause your blood sugar level to shoot up, and leave you feeling down and out with a sugar crash a little while later.
- Get Up and Active
It cannot be stressed enough how important exercise is to your health, and especially to your heart health. It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week.
Now this does not mean that you have to go and join an expensive gym or have to go buy a top of the range bicycle to get started… anything can be exercise!
Find something that you enjoy doing, and it will feel more like a hobby than exercise. Here are a few tips:
- Taking the dogs for a walk
- Going on a family hike
- Taking up mountain biking
- Getting a elliptical trainer or exercise bike that you can use while watching TV
- Doing some gardening
- Going out dancing
- Taking a walk on the beach while watching the sunset
- Doing 15 minute home workout exercises that only use your body weight or household objects
Start out by taking it slow and slowly kicking it up a notch. It also helps if you have somebody that exercises with you.
- Eat Right When You Eat Out
It can be easy to veer off course when you are spoiled for choice at a restaurant. But if you are determined to look after your health, you can still eat healthy when eating out.
When it is your turn to order, make sure you…
- Choose broiled, baked, steamed, and grilled foods – not fried.
- Get sauces on the side.
- Practice portion control by asking for half your meal to be boxed up before it’s brought out.
- Read the Label
The packaging label and nutrients table are your friends. Here are a few things to look at before you choose your food…
- Check serving sizes. The nutrition info may look good, but how much will you actually be eating?
- Whole wheat or whole grain should be the first ingredient if it is truly a whole grain product.
- Note the saturated fat and cholesterol. Are they within your diet’s limits?
- Relax, Take It Easy
Constant stress can cause your blood pressure to go up, which can lead to a higher risk of atherosclerosis, which is when the plaque builds up in the arteries due to high cholesterol.
Lowering your stress levels can be easier said than done, but here are a few tricks to help you:
- Avoid stressful situations where possible
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises
- Take up a relaxing hobby
- Go out and relax with friends
- Losing = Winning
Losing weight is one of the best ways to lower your bad cholesterol levels. When you are overweight it also increases your chances of suffering from high cholesterol. It can also lead to various other health issues like type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic fatigue.
If you have to change your lifestyle and diet, follow the very simple Manna Diet in the free e-book. The supplement to take if you really are serious about lowering your cholesterol but is afraid of all the chemical medication and their side effects, take the Manna Cholesterol Support supplement.
Another very helpful tip is to eat cooked rolled oats with almonds every morning, because this meal will not just keep you fuller for longer, it will also help you to shed some weight and in the process helps to lower high cholesterol.